Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
Peerbits is a technology company that thrives in mobile application development. I am the Chief Executive Officer and one of the co-founders and my job is to make sure, every project is in line with clients’ expectations. I sit with managers every week, where they tell me the progress of each project. I tally the progress with the schedule provided to the client. This makes sure the team and client are on the same page. We prioritize accordingly. A major part of my role includes making sure no piece of work is stuck due to a pending decision from my side.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
Peerbits is derived from two words: Peers, which means a group of like-minded individuals and a bit, the smallest unit of data in a computer. The year was 2011, Google was just out with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and the same time around Apple released iOS 5 with a Notification Centre in the line with Android. If you remember, two of the most beloved iOS features, iCloud and iMessage were released with iOS 5. Enterprises were curious to deploy mobile apps on top of their legacy systems to be on the forefront of market trends. That sure required a lot of work but one thing was clear: The future is mobility solutions. The future is mobile applications and the potential is endless. With Peerbits, we wanted to be a major driving force behind the revolution. Therefore, we started as a mobile application development company and, by God's grace, we’re still going strong. We’ve been continually rated among top mobile application development companies.
What is your company’s business model–in-house team or third-party vendors/ outsourcing?
We have an in-house team of 100+ developers who are apt to handle a project of any size. As a young company when you get your first major project, you either freelance the project or hire an in-house team. The former is a natural choice owing to lower risks and cost. But relying too much on freelancers is a trap every young company falls in, which in long-term leads to disasters. An in-house team may cost you on a dearer side owing to inefficient human resource utilization. But they are worth building if you’re serious about your long-term objective. With time, in-house teams will only grow stronger, they get to know your clients better, understand your company culture, and become an integral part of the company. We’re proud of the team we’ve built over many years, and we’ve reached a stage that the need to hire freelancers has ceased to exist.
How is your business model beneficial from a value added perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Expertise; we have requisite experience and knowledge of working with the top brands and leaders across the globe.
Highly process oriented; we follow distinct processes for every task while maintaining a holistic view of the projects.
No Surprises; we ensure transparency in work keeping the unexpected surprises at bay.
Peace of mind; we dedicate ourselves to work for your business to ensure smooth completion of projects, avoiding all unexpected hazards.
Committed support; we are passionate about our industry, and we love what we do. We provide regular updates, calls, and product demos for client’s assurance.
Customer satisfaction; clients’ satisfaction is our priority which contributes towards constant enhancement for maintaining and improving client satisfaction!
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
Industries we cater to are healthcare, logistics, education, retail, finance, wellness& fitness, travel& tourism, real estate, telecommunication, government, and oil & gas.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time-frame of developing a mobile app.
As every app is different, nobody can estimate an exact time-frame for an objective or parameter. So I have given weight to every objective and parameter based how much time they consume in a development cycle.
Understanding of the Business Case: Understanding the ‘Why’ behind developing an app is most important factor. If the business case is not well understood then the quality of the app and overall objective of developing the app will get hampered.
Features: We use function point estimate technique to divide the features into points if there are a number of points in feature than a feature is considered to be complex in nature and take time to implement.
Third Party Integrations: Third party integration is the subject of research; app stakeholders have to understand the various dependencies, implications of the implementation and some time it requires doing a proof of concept to avoid the last moment delays so performing proof of concept will increase the timeframe of the project.
App UI/UX Design: One of the key aspects to make the app successful is this that it should have very good user experience; when we talk about user experience it is the mapping of the user's journey into the app in a seamless way, by reducing the number of taps from users and only capturing the specific details on key screens of user journey, more details can be rested on the secondary screens.
This factor is often subsided in the light of other factors but it is one of the important factors which affect the timeframe of the mobile app. When it comes to iOS app, we have a limited set of devices on which UI and functions need to be reviewed, but when it comes to Android app there are multiple devices on which the app should be tested. So testing the app on various devices is a time-consuming affair and it has to be carefully devised.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
It depends on the scope of the app. Normally, front end takes more time than the back end, especially when a client wants native apps for both iOS and Android. Forte of Peerbits lies in on-demand solutions which depending upon the number of actors involved require the development of more than one set of apps for iOS and Android. While I can’t give you an exact number unless you have discussed your app requirements in detail, I tried my best to give you a fair estimate based on a typical on-demand app with two factors. Like I said, the backend part is needed to make the frontend part (user part of an application) of a software solution work—web and mobile apps in this case. The owner of the application (often the app publisher) needs a panel to control every module of the software solution. In addition, an app requires integration with many 3rd party services, for example, Google Maps, Payment Gateways, etc. depending upon the features agreed upon. Moreover, separate apps must be developed for service providers and end users. So, all in all, 4 apps must be developed—2 each for iOS and Android.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
Well, every app targets a certain set of users, which defines its user stories. And that set decides which platform to target. Generally, when the set is dominated by people in the high-income group, we go with iOS. For everything else, owing to its large user base, Android is a good place to start with when you want to target the mass market.
Which platform do you suggest your clients, to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
Well, that’s a very broad question and the decision lies entirely on client’s requirement. What he expects of the app, which geographies he is targeting, and which app monetization method he is interested in. iOS is the default choice for clients in the developed world targeting urban landscape. Android is for everybody else. At the end of the day, you need both.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
We are a biased towards native app development for obvious advantages that it provides although it drives a project’s cost. Developers, end-users, and users all prefer the native app to hybrid. They’re faster, better, look cleaner, native and friendly. Android is free, open source and is backed by Google services. Android is our preferred platform. With Google coming up with its own Smartphone, Android development is only going to get better. iOS may be flawless but Apple, although for logical reasons, puts too many walls across its ecosystem that sometimes annoys our developers and limit what an app can do. We all know how unpopular App Store’s approval process is.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
We will consider parameters such as platform i.e. native or hybrid, availability of skilled resources, complexity of business case, multiple actors/roles in the app, multiple language support
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
We follow value delivery method of software engineering. In which, we code the software around the feature set fundamental to the working of an app first and ask the client to bill for it. This is essentially 50-60% of the app features. Then we add more features on low priority list and bill client gradually till the end of the project
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
You may call us a bit choosy over the type of projects we take. The low budget may not necessarily be an issue. It’s the scope of the project that influences our decision. An innovative project that challenges us and helps us develop & hone our skills even on a tighter budget has more chance of being accepted than a project on a liberal budget that brings no innovation or doesn’t challenge us.
So, No, we don’t have any minimum budget requirements as such. For example, we worked on an app for a local educational institute on a tighter budget because we found it to be worth our time. The institute wanted to gamify their annual event. On a tight budget of $1500, we developed the entire backend in addition to Android and iOS apps within a span of 30 days. The event was a success so was the app. After all, it’s our duty to serve the local community.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2016?
As I mentioned above, there is no max or minimum project size. But, an average project at Peerbits averages $10,000 to $20,000. In 2016, as I mentioned above, the lowest budget project we took was $1500. The apps were supposed to gamify an annual event. The highest budget project we took in 2016 was a $50,000 project.
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
Some of the revenue models we integrate into our clients’ application are contextual ads, subscription, in-app purchases. Enterprise Apps don’t need a revenue model. They improve an enterprise’s productivity and, thus, revenue. The same goes for apps that are offered as an extension of existing services in the form of mobility solutions.